By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Southside High somehow managed to squeeze a pair of baseball games in between the rain showers on Friday (Apr. 17), and wound up leaving Lee-Huntsville high and dry.
The No. 8 Panthers (22-9) racked up 24 hits en route to a 14-1, 13-1 doubleheader sweep of the Generals in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs at SHS. Both games ended with the 10-run mercy rule after five innings.
Southside (22-9) will host Fort Payne for a best-of-three second round series beginning Friday (Apr. 24).
“I think we pitched well and had some good at-bats at the plate,” said Southside head coach Blake Bone. “We came out today and took care of business like we were supposed to.”
Considering the wet fielding conditions, the Panthers did not commit an error.
“If you pitch well and play defense, you’ve got a chance to win every game that you’re in. It was good to see,” said Bone.
Scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start, Game 1 did not get under way until after 6 p.m. Bone noted that his team handled the weather delay in fine fashion.
“It was a long day for everybody and tough on both teams, but Lee had to travel a couple of hours to get here and we both wanted to get the games in. I thought that our kids stayed mentally sharp through all of the waiting around.”
Game 1 starter Brock Love had a standout game both on the mound and at the plate. The senior struck out eight in four innings of two-hit ball while allowing one walk and one run. Love retired the side in order in the first, second and third innings before giving way to Logan Miracle, who sent down the visitors in order in the top of the fifth.
Love helped his cause by going 4-for-4 with two triples. For the series, he went 5-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored.
The hosts jump out to a 5-0 lead after one inning courtesy of a two-run double by Lakota Leek and respective RBI singles from Love and Hunter Clough.
Greyson Daugherty’s two-run double highlighted a five-run bottom of the second, with Tanner Snow, Clough, Saige Benson and Landon Cunningham all scoring to make it a 10-run advantage.
Benson’s RBI single in the third pushed the lead to 11-0, while Love’s two-run triple in the fourth closed out the home side scoring.
Lee’s only run came in the third inning when Dakota Landers doubled in Jalen Pearson.
The Panthers got more solid pitching in the nightcap. In three innings, starter and winner Tyler Burks struck out four while allowing four hits, one run and no walks. Leek then recorded the final six outs, surrendering a pair of walks while fanning five.
After stranding a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the first inning, the Panthers blew the game open in the second. A two-run double and Clough and a pair of two-run singles from Jacob Coker helped produce an eight-run inning.
Austin Willingham, Logan Brooks, Donald Metz and Love all came home in the third to make it 12-0, while Dakota Garmon’s RBI base hit in the fifth capped the scoring.
At the plate for Southside, Clough went 5-for-7 with four RBI and three runs scored.
Daugherty went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Snow had two hits, three RBI and two runs scored.
Benson had two hits, three RBI and two runs scored, while Coker had two hits, three RBI and a run scored,